updated 06:05 pm EDT, Tue August 24, 2010
Motorola acquires 280 North for Android app tools
Motorola joined in the slew of acquisitions today by buying 280 North. The deal, rumored to cost $20 million, gives it access to a programming platform known as Cappuccino that simplifies creating deeper web apps. A Motorola representative noted to TechCrunch that the deal would help "foster the Android ecosystem" through web-based apps and technology.
The deal will likely have an effect on the Blur UI that underpins most of Motorola's smartphones. While it has played a lesser role in recent months, it's considered instrumental to both the Droid X and Droid 2 and gives owners a slew of information and control widgets. Companies like Motorola have often tried to veer away from the reference Android platform to differentiate themselves, although many of these have hindered the experience rather than helped.
The staff behind the small firm may also represent a minor coup as it brings a pair of former but influential Apple employees. Interface designer Francisco Tolmasky was involved in the early iPhone team and helped develop both Maps and Safari. Server coder Ross Boucher also worked with Apple in developing the charting, recommendation and search engines for the iTunes Store. The company's in-house name for Cappuccino, Objective-J, is a direct nod to the Objective-C language at the root of Cocoa programming for iOS and Mac OS X.